The group “Justice for Taz” tries to bring its dog back to class – InForum

WEST FARGO — For those demanding “Justice for Taz,” there may be good news on the horizon.

Taz is a dog who until recently attended classes at Liberty Middle School in West Fargo with his owner, a teacher for about a year according to a Facebook group created by Liberty Middle School students and families.

Late last week, Taz was asked to leave the school by Principal Dan Holder due to the fact that his attendance technically violated district policy, “Use of Animals in District Schools and School Programs “.

“This policy permits animals to be on school property for educational purposes or for use by learners or staff with a defined need that has been documented by a health care provider,” Holder wrote. in an email sent on Monday, October 10 to the Liberty families. . “At this time, none of these scenarios apply, which is why Mr. Burris has been advised that Taz can no longer be at school.”

“It was nothing malicious, we have policies in place to keep our learners and staff safe,” said Vincent Williams, West Fargo Public Schools assistant superintendent for high schools.

Once it was learned that Taz would no longer be allowed in school, the Facebook group was formed to support Taz. Members of the group encouraged other signs of support, such as a number of students holding signs at Friday’s Sheyenne High School football game that read “Justice for Taz.”

While Williams acknowledged that Taz was simply asked to leave school due to the policy violation, the same policy could potentially allow Taz to return to school later.

Members of the Facebook page claim that Taz is currently in training to become a certified comfort dog. If Taz and Burris are able to earn the qualifications required by the policy, the little dog could become a permanent fixture in Liberty’s student body.

“In addition to the goals currently set out in the policy, the District is exploring ways in which comfort dogs could also be permitted on District property,” Holder said.

He highlighted the district’s current partnership with the West Fargo Police Department, which brought Bella, a registered school comfort dog, to the district’s School Resource Officer team.

“I know that many of our employees, learners, and their families have benefited in some way from Taz’s presence at Liberty Middle School, and I want you all to know that the school district generally supports creative ways to meet the needs of all learners, including comfort dogs,” Holder wrote. “District policy is in place to ensure that all learners have access to safe and supportive learning environments, and up to Until we could ensure that Taz at Liberty Middle School aligned with the policy, that was the decision that needed to be made. To the learners, staff and families who support Taz at school, please accept my apologies for how this situation has arisen.”

When Williams was asked if Taz would be able to come back if he was actually working for certification, he emphatically replied, “Absolutely!”

“If he was, we would definitely reconsider his return there. We just have to make sure it’s within the policy,” he said.

At press time, it was still unclear if Taz was in fact in training.

Readers can contact West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at [email protected] or 701-241-5530. Follow her on Twitter